MBR Backup

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by CWBillow, Jul 16, 2008.

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  1. CWBillow

    CWBillow Registered Member

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    I know nthat if I back up my active boot partition the MBR gets backed up as well, so that, if need be, I can restore just the boot record.

    Is there a way to either back up JUST the boor record, say to a CD, or to transfer the already backed up boot record to a CD?

    That way, no matter which backups I save (or not), I'll have my working MBR.

    This gets important on two levels: My (HP) came pre-configured, and I need the pre-configured MBR to "get at" the recovery data if I have problems, and secondly,

    I want to also install Ubuntu on this machine, which will certainly change the boot configuration. I would then want to be able to back up the original, AND the newly configured boot record.

    Is this an option?

    Regards,
    Chuck Billow
     
  2. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Someone else can comment on your specific questions, but I would give this advice: if you backup the entire disk, then you will have everything. A full disk image allows you to restore all partitions, no matter what OS is on each, including the boot record.

    There are so many help requests here from people who had problems or got confused when imaging individual partitions, that I really think the simplest and safest solution is to image the entire disk.
     
  3. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Chuck:

    You have Acronis Disk Director, right? Resize one of your logical partitions smaller by a tiny amount and create a new, tiny logical partition. The minimum size you can create is 1 cylinder (512 bytes/sector x 256 heads/cylinder x 63 sectors/head = 8.257536 MB or 7.88 MiB). Make it a hidden FAT partition so that it won't show up in Windows Explorer.

    Now back up just this tiny partition and you'll have the smallest .tib file that you can create, and it will contain a copy of Track 0 and MBR. You can later restore just Track 0 and MBR from this image.

    On a side note, you can prevent Ubuntu from modifying the MBR if you install its GRUB bootloader to the Linux root partition. When you repartition your disk for Ubuntu, create a primary partition for Linux root. You can make the other partitions (home and swap) both logicals. Watch the choices on the Ubuntu installer carefully - you will want to direct it to use the partitions that you have already created and to install GRUB to the root partition.

    After installation, go back into Disk Director and set the Ubuntu root partition as active. Now when you boot your PC the GRUB menu will come up and allow you to choose Windows or Linux.

    If you want to go back to booting directly into Windows, just set its partition active and you'll boot directly into Windows. Then you can wipe the Linux partitions out if you ever want to remove them. The advantage of this method is that the MBR is not modified.
     
  4. CWBillow

    CWBillow Registered Member

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    Tuttle:

    In theory I certainly understand your point... but we're talking about a 700 gig disk.

    I would need another 2 or 3 disks to store the backup.

    I'll just have to deal with the separate partitions, as I've done now for some 7-8 years.

    Regards,
    Chuck Billow
     
  5. CWBillow

    CWBillow Registered Member

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    Mark:

    That may be it!

    So, with my setup the way it is now, if I set up another partition (10 megs?), when I back up THAT partition, it will also back up the boot record/MBR from my now C (master) partition?

    Regards,
    Chuck
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    The MBR isn't part of the C partition; it goes with the disk. Providing your new partition is on the same disk, YES, a backup of the small partition will also contain a backup of Track 0.
     
  7. CWBillow

    CWBillow Registered Member

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    Mark:

    uh- duh.

    I think I got iot.

    Thanks,
    Chuck Billow
     
  8. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  9. CWBillow

    CWBillow Registered Member

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    Brian: The link brought me to a dead page... but is Mbrwork just part of Bootit?
     
  10. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/downloads-free-software.htm

    It's a free download. Just put mbrwork.exe on your bootable floppy or flash drive. Type mbrwork and press Enter at the A: prompt for a floppy or C: prompt for a flash drive.

    Choose Backup First Track and a 32kb .bin file will be written to your floppy/flash drive.

    I don't suggest anyone does this but it's interesting in that you can choose 3) and 4) and your HD will appear like a new, blank HD. No data, no partitions, nothing. You can then choose 2) and everything is back to normal. It does work.
     
  11. CWBillow

    CWBillow Registered Member

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    Brian:

    Got the file, thanks.

    Now I need a bootable flash or CD (no floppy drive, as they decided the machine didn't need one for some reason).

    Is there a way I can add it to a TI bootable CD, or ...?

    Regards,
    Chuck
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Chuck,

    There are freeware tools to make your USB flash drive bootable but none of my links work at present.

    Anyone have a link that works?

    It only takes 30 seconds and you can use one of your old 64 MB USB flash drives. I like those old small flash drives for DOS work.


    PS... you can't use a bootable CD as you can't write to the CD from DOS.
     
  13. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Your Google Gods know everything. :D
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I've tried that before, looking for these files. Good luck. You just get dead links.

    Luckily I have the files.
     
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Chuck, when you boot from a USB flash drive, the flash drive will be HD0 in MBRWork. You will need to use 7) and change to HD1. You can tell by the partition table up top if you are seeing your primary HD.
     
  16. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Brian:

    This utility looks like it backs up the partition table (and restores it) along with the boot code in the first sector. True?

    If so, be aware of the difference between using this utility and using the TI function Restore Track 0 and MBR. The Acronis restore will put back everything in Track 0 (the first 63 sectors of the disk) except the partition table. It appears that the TeraByte utility will restore everything in Track 0 including the partition table.

    The practical ramifications of this are illustrated in the following three scenarios:

    1. You have made no changes to the partitions on the disk (none added, deleted, or resized) since the time of the backup. Therefore, the partition table hasn't changed. Then restoring using either utility will restore the "MBR", producing the same outcome.

    2. Something happens to your partition table and it gets corrupted. Restoring from the TeraByte utility will fix it. Restoring from the Acronis Track 0 and MBR backup will not fix the partition table. You would need to restore your partitions from the backup image in order to fix the partition table from a TI backup.

    3. You have made changes to the partitions on the disk since backing up. Then the two outcomes will be very different. Restoring Track 0 and MBR from the Acronis backup will not affect your partition layout, but will restore the boot code in Track 0. Your data will be preserved. Restoring from the TeraByte backup will reset the partition table to what it was at the time of the backup and you may lose one or more partitions. Data loss will occur.

    Obviously, if you use the TeraByte utility you need to create a new backup after making any changes to the partition table. You don't need to do this with the Acronis backup of Track 0.

    Is this a correct interpretation, Brian?
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2008
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Mark,

    Absolutely correct. I keep MBRWork backups of my First Track but I've only had to use them when I've deliberately created disasters like zeroing my first track. This is on test computers, not my main computer. I'll continue to create MBRWork backups of my First Track whenever I change my partitions but it would take some sort of unforeseen disaster for them to ever be used.
     
  18. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Brian:

    OK, good. I wanted to post some clarifying information because a lot of people are confused about what's in an MBR and how Acronis products deal with restoring it. Hopefully I haven't confused things more.
     
  19. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    No, you haven't. It really needed to be said. I should have pointed out that a MBRWork first track backup is specialized and will rarely be needed.
     
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